Sustainability Champion Awards

2019 staff sustainability award
Dawn Lang, 2019 Staff Sustainability Champion

The Staff and Student Sustainability Awards recognize and celebrate one student and staff member whose efforts to make the campus more sustainable has had a meaningful and enduring contribution towards the sustainability goals of the university. 

The peer nominated award is intended to highlight initiatives in advancing sustainability practices on campus. Previous winners have contributed to practices reducing waste, conserving energy and promotion sustainability transportation as referenced in the Sustainability Action Plan.

The award is presented every 2 years at the Connect U Staff Conference; the next award will be presented in 2021. For information on eligibility and nomination process, please email

Previous recipients

Dawn Lang, 2019 Staff Sustainability Champion

Dawn Lang joined the Interior Modification team in 2007 and quickly became involved in the Surplus Furniture Program. As a member of the 6-person team, Dawn has been responsible for retrieving, assessing, storing and reusing furniture. This project has led to the development of the furniture standardization on campus allowing the university to maintain a used furniture stock. Over the past 12 years, Dawn’s involvement in the program has led to a reduction in the university’s GHG and Carbon footprint through limiting the use of raw materials used for manufacturing new furniture and reducing the number of furniture deliveries to campus.

Dawn has been a committed member of the Staff Sustainability Network since its inception in 2015 and has implemented several of the network's campaigns in her department.  Her ‘21 Days to Green My Routine’ campaign focused on composting paper towels in the Facilities Management building’s washrooms, and the success of this pilot project led the program to become an official UVic program. Expanding on the success of the composting paper towel program, Dawn implemented the ‘Shake-and-Fold’ campaign to reduce paper towel usage. To date, the program has resulted in a 9 per cent reduction in paper towel usage.  Most recently, Dawn participated in the ‘Dump and Run’ campaign to reduce waste produced from the residence move-out period. She provided valuable support behind in the scenes in developing the program and volunteered to sort and collect materials for redistribution.

"UVic is a wonderful community where I have taken advantage of the opportunity to learn from climatologists and student climate activists alike. I believe that by taking responsibility for own individual actions, we can move beyond our collective despair in the face of the climate crisis, and move toward a more hopeful future.” Dawn Lang, 2019 Staff Sustainability Champion Recipient 

In addition, she has been an advocate for initiatives aimed at reducing the university’s negative impact on the natural environment. At her suggestion, the Staff Sustainability Network adopted a policy of vegetarian lunch meetings and she has advocated for the university to adopt anti-bird-strike measures on the building facades as part of the Victoria Campus Bird-Strike Initiative.

Her commitment to sustainability extends beyond her work at UVic. Dawn has made several lifestyle changes to incorporate sustainability in to her day-to-day routine. She continues to encourage her neighbours to participate in the Saanich Boulevard Tree Program and local beach clean-ups. Dawn’s ability to lead by example has inspired her colleagues and community to move towards a more sustainable lifestyle and we are thrilled her work is being recognized as the 2019 Staff Sustainability Champion. 

Bently Sly, 2017 Staff Sustainability Champion

Bentley Sly came to UVic as the Manager of Grounds in October 2006. During his time here, he spearheaded many sustainability initiatives and acted as an important connector between the Sustainability Action Plan and Operations. He was an activity participant in developing the Sustainability Action Plan in 2009. 

In 2008 Bentley drove the need to engage an ecological consultant to work with him on several important Hobbs Creek-Mystic Vale watershed studies. In 2015, this work resulted in a 5-year stream course remediation plan. In addition, Bentley worked alongside the Office of Campus Planning and Sustainability and Environmental Studies with the CRD, Oak Bay and Saanich municipalities in developing a long-term sustainable restoration plan for Hobbs Creek, an integral step in maintaining the this special ecosystem. 

One of Bentley’s major contributions to Sustainability at UVic was he single-handedly lobbied for the creation of a Waste Reduction Unit on campus. During the first couple of years of his time at UVic he noticed a major gap in waste management across campus. Back then, it was inconsistent, unmeasurable and was managed by multiple departments. In 2008, he secured funding to undertake a gaps analysis study, resulting in the recommendation for all waste and recycling collection and disposal be consolidated and managed by one area of responsibility.

After presenting an extensive business case and implementation plan, the Waste Reduction Unit was then created in 2009. The formation of the Waste Reduction Unit brought forth the consolidation of waste and recycling campus wide, the installation of an additional 800 recycling bins on campus (in the form of recycling stations) and the expansion of the composting program. Today, the Unit has noticeably increased the campus waste landfill diversion rate from around 50% to 70% and continues to develop and expand its services with support from the campus community.

Miranda Harvey, 2015 Staff Sustainability Champion

Miranda Harvey inspires her colleagues to embrace sustainability in their day-to-day activities by regularly demonstrating sustainability leadership beyond the requirements of her job. Just to name a few of the many examples offered by her colleagues at Alumni House and the Development Office:

UVic sustainability programs: As leader and participant energizer, Miranda involved her office in the Green Office (GO!) challenge and Love-a-Mug week. As a result, the Ian Stewart Complex won the Green Office award due to her rallying of the employees and by using her gentle positive influence to encourage others to act while still having fun. 

Waste diversion: Miranda has expanded the Development Office’s recycling separation station to go beyond the standard UVic office system: She has put together bins for soft plastics, batteries, paper towels, and compost – all of which she ensures are all emptied and their contents taken to the appropriate places.

Sustainable transportation: Miranda bikes or buses to work and encourages her co-workers to think of alternative forms of transportation as well. She is the leader of and cheerleader for Bike to Work Week and the Commuter Challenge. She has also been witnessed politely asking people in the Ian Stewart parking lot to please refrain from idling in their cars – and some of those folks are hockey moms! 

Green printing: Miranda has taken on the printing culture and has scored some significant victories. She coaches her colleagues to not print unless it is necessary and then to only do it double-sided. She keeps a supply of used paper to print day-to-day jobs on if need be, and she collects scrap paper for use in the Child Care Services art program. Miranda even managed to convince those in control of the budget to order what paper as a more sustainable option.

Julia Jennings, 2017 Student Sustainability Champion

Specializing in ecological restoration, Julia Jennings has been an integral player maintaining and improving environmental integrity and sustainability on campus. Throughout her time at UVic, in addition to her studies in Environmental Studies and Geography, Julia has been active volunteering, organizing and mobilizing ecological restoration initiatives. Her exceptional work has brought together students, staff, faculty, First Nations, and members of the greater community.

Julia is recognized by many as a tireless, dedicated, enthusiastic and effective leader. To mention a few of her accomplishments and contributions, Julia has undertaken the role of Restoration Volunteer Network Coordinator, worked as a Research Assistant to develop the University of Victoria Campus Invasive Species Management Strategy, and coordinated the preservation of Cunningham Woods.

Emily Thiessen and Leat Ahrony, 2015 Student Sustainability Champions

Emily Thiessen has been a student at UVic since 2013 and has been active on Sustainability ever since. Emily has worked to engage group not traditionally engaged in sustainability and has play a key roll in Divest UVic. Emily has pushed the conversation on what sustainability on campus means.

Leat Ahrony has been a student at UVic since 2011 and she has shown a strong commitment to sustainability. Leat is involved in a myriad of groups and projects on campus, all of which focus on making her community a better place for its members. One of her main groups is the University of Victoria Sustainability Project (UVSP), through which she continues to work to make UVic a more sustainable institution.